By Steve Allender, CRPC® and Scott Tschappat
Uncertainty seems to be a bit of a given these days. With the world constantly changing, everything feels like a guessing game. While this level of uncertainty may feel a bit annoying to us, the market also feels the weight of the uncertainty.
In the last 6 months, all three indices experienced significant declines: the S&P 500 fell 12%, the Nasdaq fell 23%, and the Dow fell nearly 8%. While there are many causes we can point to as the source of this volatility, that doesn’t change the fact that we have no control over what the market decides to do.
We’re here to help you take a deep breath and guide you through market fluctuations. Here’s how we are watching over your finances and being proactive in our plan to secure your wealth.
We don’t make investment decisions based on what everyone else is doing or what’s popular in the investment industry. Whenever we make planning decisions with you and offer investment recommendations, we do it with your goals at the forefront. When the markets get shaky, we go the extra step of reviewing your objectives to make sure you’re still on track and make educated decisions that are not based on panic or emotion.
This starts from the very beginning of our relationship with you. We use conservative return numbers when analyzing the potential outcomes of your plan because we know that corrections and bear markets will come again. We can also use asset allocation “buckets” that divide your wealth into short, intermediate, and long-term strategies to help you make the most of a volatile market.
And in times like this, it’s even more important to have an emergency fund or a percentage of your portfolio that is either in cash or liquid enough if you need it for unexpected circumstances. While cash investments may not provide a lot of growth, having a cash contingency fund with at least 6-12 month’s worth of living expenses will protect you against having to sell investments at low values to free up cash.
We Know Your Risk Tolerance
Do you know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you make a decision that was too risky for your comfort? Our goal is to help you avoid that feeling when it comes to your investments. Before investing any of your money, we determine your risk tolerance, the amount of risk that an investor is comfortable taking or the degree of uncertainty that an investor can handle. Like most things in life, your risk tolerance may change with age, income, and financial goals. We don’t want you to lose sleep at night, so we review your risk tolerance and how much risk you can afford to take and adjust your investments over time.
We also watch over your money like a hawk, and when it’s time to get out of an investment because the risk is rising, we will contact you about adjusting your allocation.
During bear markets, it’s important to remember that investors only realize losses when they sell, so it’s critical not to sell when the market is down. When you need to access your money is an important factor in avoiding those losses. For example, if you are a decade or more away from retirement, you can likely wait out a market downturn or correction and benefit from the recovery. If you need access to your funds in the next five years or are within your first five years of retirement (frequently known as the “fragile decade”), (1) a market downturn will make more of an impact on your money and your plans.
From a practical perspective, we make sure your portfolio’s allocation is set up with your time horizon in mind. If you need money in the short term, your portfolio will hold safe investments like cash or short-term bonds. Because retirement can last decades, you still want some of your money in investments that will produce long-term growth, but your portfolio will look very different from that of a 40-year-old in the peak of their working years.
We Are Your Emotional Support System
One of the most important rules in investing is to refrain from making emotional decisions. It’s easy to get swept away emotionally when the market wreaks havoc on your finances. But if you stay true to your investment strategy and avoid making decisions when emotions are running high, you won’t run the risk of losing even more.
Remember, bear markets have happened before and they will happen again. As long as you have created a disciplined financial plan and have a trusted advisor who is monitoring your money, you are doing your part to prepare. Do you have someone you can turn to when the market gets wild? If not, we’d love to support you and help you build your finances for a strong future. Reach out to us today to schedule a 15-minute introductory phone call!
Steve Allender is a partner and wealth advisor at Acute WealthCare, an independent, fee-based comprehensive financial services firm. Steve is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor℠ who spends his days helping women in healthcare professions build a secure financial future through investment management and financial planning. Steve loves building long-term relationships with his clients and helping them address financial burdens so they can focus on what they love and how they want to spend their time. While Steve has officially been in the financial industry for over 20 years, he became hooked on learning about finances as a child when his parents taught him the basics of saving, spending, and giving. Steve enjoys all the outdoor activities living in Colorado provides, and you can often find him backpacking, snowshoeing, rafting, mountain biking, fishing, and exploring old mining communities. His claim to fame is that he is a Colorado Trail thru-hike completer, covering 486 miles of the most beautiful country on earth. Steve also enjoys a good book about Lincoln and the Civil War and is committed to his community, mentoring through Save Our Youth and helping the elderly and single moms with household maintenance through the Minute Man Ministry. Learn more about Steve by connecting with him on LinkedIn. You can also register for his latest webinar on What We Do & How We Help.
Scott Tschappat is a wealth advisor at Acute WealthCare, an independent, fee-based comprehensive financial services firm with over 20 years of experience. Scott is committed to helping his healthcare worker clients create a financial plan that brings them comfort and dignity. Scott learned the importance of proper financial management and making a plan for the unexpected at a young age when his father passed away suddenly and he watched his mother use the life insurance money wisely to take care of their needs, both present and future. He strives to steward his clients’ money well, as if it were his own mother’s, and help them every step on the journey to their financial future.
Scott lives in Highlands Ranch, CO, with his wife, Bridget, a school counselor at All Souls Catholic School, and their two daughters, Sarah and Emily. He loves sports and has been lucky enough to coach both of his daughters’ basketball teams. In the spring and summer, you can find Scott getting his hands dirty gardening and enjoying live music at Red Rocks or another local venue. To learn more about Scott, connect with him on LinkedIn. You can also register for his latest webinar on What We Do & How We Help.
Indices mentioned are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.